In the course of his existence, man has always grappled with all manner of challenges. There have been wars, droughts, storms, floods, outbreaks of disease and every manner of conceivable challenge.
Man’s resilience has been tested at every turn in history. It is to his eternal credit that he has always found a way.
Around the tail-end of 2019 and especially through 2020,COVID-19 presented as formidable a challenge as any that has been known in recent times.
The pandemic which left entire countries pretty shook up, underlined the fact that the world could still be considerably challenged on all fronts by disease or any other posing the most uncomfortable questions of people and their families.
The world has pretty much been able to ride the COVID-19 challenge. But that was not it claimed many casualties.
The United Kingdom High Commissioner for Nigeria Catriona Lang recently stated that very soon Nigeria would not be able to continue farming activities on about 25 per cent of farmlands due to the effects of climate change. She disclosed it when she presented a document at the Feed Nigeria Summit with the theme ‘ Riding the Global Ag-Downturn through Viable International Partnerships.’
Climate change has arguably become the most pressing issue in the world today. Already, the devastating effects of climate change are well documented and the devastations are set to continue at record levels unless urgent steps are taken.
Taking those steps is proving impossibly difficult because Nigeria cannot act alone. Nigeria needs the cooperation of other countries of the world.
As a developing country, Nigeria’s carbon emissions and contributions to climate change is low compared to developed countries, especially the biggest economies.
So Nigeria needs those countries to commit to curbing carbon emissions as much as it needs to curb its own emissions. It has been shown that the most devastating impacts of climate change are felt by the world’s poorest people who contribute only very little to the menace.
The grave injustice of the situation is captured by the fact that those who contribute so little to climate change are paying the heaviest price.
If Nigeria is to lose between 10-25 per cent of its arable land to climate change, the consequences would be better imagined.
It would mean more poverty. It would also mean food insecurity and the fuel it could provide for conflict. Yet, as has been shown, those who would feel it more are the world’s poorest and hungriest, those projected to feel it even more are those who are the least responsible for it.
Commitments after commitments have been made to curb climate change. Yet, as so starkly remains the case, very little has been done to follow us on those commitments such that the world faces the very real prospect of failing to reach the goals set under the Paris Agreement at the projected timeframe.
These projections of loss must alarm policymakers in Nigeria. Nigeria’s population recently exploded into 216 million. It will only continue to grow.
Having that number of people means that the demand on the resources available will continue to grow.
To fail to meet the demands may spell disaster.